Friday, June 8, 2012

I Knew It Was Coming

I have found that the more you share Truth, the more you will be criticized and accused.  It is natural to defend and deflect when one’s choices come face to face with the Truth.  I understand this full well, it is my tendency too.

The biggest accusation is usually to be labeled as, “judgmental”.  Another is ‘legalistic’.  ‘Harsh’, “lacking ‘grace’” and many others.

I really appreciated what one of the commenters said in a comment on yesterday’s post.

“People have a problem with the Word of God, not me. The Word judges, and we can use it as a guideline.”

I appreciate this so much, because it really is not ‘me’ doing the judging, it is the Word of God.  Just because I spoke it, wrote or proclaimed it doesn’t mean ‘I’ am judging you.

Example:  A friend confides in me that she is having an affair and seems to be okay with it.  When I exhort and challenge her sharing that God’s word says that adultery is a sin and she should really evaluate her choices and repent, I am not ‘judging’ her, it is the Word that is Truth and the Word that judges her choices.  I’m just the messenger.

My definition of me judging her would be to think she is an awful person for doing what she does and because ‘I’ have never done that.  And to think that I am somehow superior to her because of her choices.  That’s sort of a ‘loose’ definition.

It is not ‘judging’ to believe (and share for that matter) that murder is wrong.

It is not ‘judging’ to believe (and share for that matter) that homosexuality is a sin.

It is not ‘judging’ to believe (and share for that matter) that adultery, stealing, lying, cheating . . . is a sin.

And, for the believer, the Christ follower, the set apart and chosen ones, it is not ‘judging’ to exhort and challenge them with the Truth that dressing immodestly, putting evil things before their eyes and living like the world is indeed a sin to a believer.

13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. 14 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. (2 Thess. 3:13-16) Emphasis mine

Counting him as an enemy in my mind would be ‘judging’, but admonishing him as a brother is not.

14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. 15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. (1 Thess. 5:14-15)

24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

The following are scriptures (certainly not exhaustive) that go with my post from yesterday.

15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16)

8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says:

“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.” 15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (Eph. 5:8-16) Emphasis mine

Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thess. 5:22)

While the Lord has given me a great passion for the Truth, He has not given me a great passion for confrontation and strife.  If you know me, you know my heart is to share the Truth, to encourage others to walk in that Truth.  You know  that I love deeply.  None of my posts, including yesterday’s is ever meant to judge, criticize or condemn a person.  Perhaps condemn their choices, but not them.  I have personally experienced the deep love, mercy and forgiveness of Christ for my wicked choices before knowing Him as well as after. 

My heart is NOT judging you, don’t shoot the messenger, okay?  Winking smile I have found that when I hear the Truth and my first reaction is offence or feeling ‘judged’ that eventually I see there was actually something there I didn’t want to see at the time and wanted to excuse away.  It happened just last week while listening to a message on the Lordship of Christ.  I thought, come on, this old message.  Been there, done that, this doesn’t apply to me.  It wasn’t too many minutes later that the Lord began to reveal to me the areas that I really have refused His Lordship over.  I repented.

My point in my whole post yesterday was, take the areas that I mentioned and hold them up to the Word of God.  Not me, not my personal choices, but the Word of God. 

That’s all I’m sayin’ Winking smile


Anonymous said...

Yes, the Word of God judges. Jesus did not want us to make hypocritical judgments (take the beam out of your own eye first, THEN taken the speck out of your brother's -- not wrong to tell the brother he has a speck, just make sure we are not doing the same or worse!), but right judgments. If things are right there in black and white in the Word, we are not judging, the Word is, and we are simply agreeing with it. Some standards of holiness are personal or extra-Biblical, but many are cut and dried because the Word of God is very clear on certain subjects. And just in life, all humans must make many judgments of others just to live or stay safe. Christian widows are told in the Word that they may remarry, but "only in the Lord" -- which means they must make some sort of judgment as to whether a potential marriage prospect is "in the Lord" or not. See? Glad you posted this, Michelle.

Anonymous said...

I haven't visited your blog for awhile, but I'm glad that I read yesterday's post. It was excellent and sadly, so accurate. When worldly professing Christians are exposed by the truth, we can expect them to become defensive and use all kinds of excuses to rationalize their sin. "Don't judge" is the all-too-common response, but these people don't know Scripture. Take heart, Michelle, there are other believers who feel as you do. Many are leaving these "churches" for home fellowships, because of the worldliness and the shallow Gospel that is being preached there. Here are some other verses to share with you:

Firstly, for your encouragement:
1Peter 4:14 "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified."

RE: "judging"
Ezekiel 44:23 "And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern [judge] between the unclean and the clean."

Malachi 3:18 "Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not."

1Co 6:2 "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?"

There are so many other good verses I could list and many other examples of compromised, so-called Christians, but there is not enough space here. Sadly, they are blind and don't see their condition. For many truth-tellers it becomes a matter of shaking the dust off their feet, and heeding the command to "come out from among them and be ye separate".

Ephesians 4:17-21 "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him..."

cooperkelly4 said...

This is so true...."I have found that when I hear the Truth and my first reaction is offence or feeling ‘judged’ that eventually I see there was actually something there I didn’t want to see at the time and wanted to excuse away."

As someone who is confronted daily (by examples from yesterdays post) it makes it all the more important to "be" the it and live it, not to be self-righteous, but to demonstrate that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

To God every sin is just that, sin and even our "righteous deeds are as filthy rags." Going to your brother in correction requires our hearts to be right before the Lord first. I am not a fan of confrontation either, but I am called to be a light and how I go about that is every thing....s'posed to be in love.
Preach it Michelle!!!

Becky said...

I like your explanation of the difference between God judging through His word, versus us judging being looking down on someone for their sin. I think you put this very well.